How to Appeal SNAP Program Denials

A SNAP applicant can experience a food stamps denial when his or her application is rejected by the state food stamps department or county office. When having a food stamps application denied, the applicant should review all eligibility guidelines of the program to understand which qualifications he or she does not meet. In some cases, the food stamps appeal process should be initiated by an applicant if he or she does not believe the reasons for application denial were valid or justifiable. The steps for how to appeal SNAP benefits denial should be followed by an applicant who wishes to pursue a reversal of the denial. A food stamps denial appeal can be requested by the denied applicant if he or she feels strongly that the denial is wrongful and should be overturned. To learn more about the food stamps appeal process, the denial notification and the common reasons a SNAP application can be denied, review the following sections.

Common Reasons for Food Stamps Denials

The denial of food stamp benefits occurs when an applicant does not meet the program's guidelines to receive financial assistance. After learning about a denied SNAP application, the applicant may find out he or she did not qualify based on income. Filing for a food stamps appeal may be the next step for denied applicants who feel the income was calculated incorrectly or if additional earnings were used to calculate income that should not have been considered. The first action in the food stamps denial appeal process is to call the local SNAP office and discuss the disagreement with a representative. Often, the SNAP application denial can be reversed by a representative after the applicant explains the discrepancy. If the conversation or the meeting with the local food stamps office does not satisfy the denied food stamp applicant, he or she may need to continue pursuing an appeal.

In addition, the food stamps denial can occur when the applicant does not thoroughly complete the application process within the allotted deadline. To prevent the denial of a SNAP application, the applicant must complete a mandatory SNAP interview with a county office representative and present all requested documents and paperwork to prove claims made within the application. The food stamps appeal process may be initiated by the denied applicant if he or she feels every attempt was made to complete the application process, but that extenuating circumstances prevented the successful completion. Before appealing the SNAP benefits denial, however, the denied applicant should speak with a county office representative to see if he or she can reschedule an interview or apply to the SNAP program again without requesting a hearing.

Another common reason for having a food stamps application denied may be due to a lack of the applicant's United States citizenship or state residency status. A denial of food stamps can occur if the applicant cannot prove valid and acceptable citizenship and residency statuses through proper documentation. A food stamps appeal of denial may be initiated by a denied applicant who feels he or she has presented adequate paperwork to prove citizenship and residency status, but remains ineligible for benefits, according to the SNAP office.

Receiving Notification About Food Stamps Denial

The denial of a food stamps application is communicated to the rejected applicant through a denial notification letter. The reasons the SNAP application was denied are given in the letter, and additional contact information for the county office is included. Before pursuing a food stamps appeal, the denied applicant should use the office's contact information to speak with a representative about the denial, to see if a reversal is possible. Appealing the SNAP benefits denial should only be pursued if an agreement cannot be made, and the applicant still disagrees with the denial reasons in the letter.

The denial notification letter also contains information on how to appeal SNAP benefits denial, including steps to initiate the process with an appeal request. Generally, the food stamps appeal process can be started by a denied applicant when he or she requests the appeal by mail, via phone or in person at a local office. Download our free guide to review the important details that should be included in a SNAP appeal request. Included in the SNAP application denial notification letter is an overview of the denied applicant's rights and responsibilities during the appeal process and fair hearing trial.

How to Appeal a SNAP Denial

Once a denied applicant decides to pursue the food stamps appeal process, he or she must request an appeal to the designated county office. A food stamps denial hearing will be scheduled, and the local SNAP office and denied applicant will be informed of the date, location and type of hearing (by phone or in-person). During the SNAP application denial hearing, the food stamps applicant will be responsible for presenting his or her evidence to support a dispute of the program denial. The denied SNAP applicant can have a friend, a relative or a lawyer present to provide support for the case.

Once both parties have presented their sides of the case to the hearing judge, the food stamp appeal hearing will be adjourned by the judge. The judge will examine all testimonies and evidence provided by both parties and then mail out a food stamp application denial ruling to the SNAP office and the denied applicant. If the food stamps denial hearing concludes in an overturning of the original application denial, the applicant will begin to receive SNAP benefits. However, if the judge rules that the food stamps application was denied rightfully, and the applicant does not meet all program eligibility requirements, no benefits will be awarded after the hearing. To learn more about food stamp denials and appeals, download our guide.


What Are Food Stamps?

Food Stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal- and state-funded program that provides low-income Americans with food assistance benefits. Eligible individuals and families can use their state-issued electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which are regularly replenished with a set amount of benefits, to purchase approved food items. Learn more about the SNAP program and how you can start receiving benefits here.


Who Is Eligible to Receive Food Stamp Benefits?

Before you can begin obtaining food items with state SNAP benefits, you must apply to the program and prove that you are eligible. All applicants are subject to various requirements established by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These involve household income limits, resource limits, work requirements and more. To find out if you qualify for SNAP benefits, download our guide today.